Local residents and businesses were not thrilled in the summer of 2016 when the U.S. Coast Guard announced plans to look into building up to 10 new anchoring sites for barges along the length of the Hudson River. There was strong bipartisan opposition to the plan. Finally, after almost a year of discussions and planning, the Coast Guard informally shelved the project “indefinitely.” Now, the New York State Legislature has put the proverbial final nail in the coffin.
Earlier this week Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the unceremoniously named bill A.6825-A/S.5197-B, which according to the official NYAssembly.gov release, “grants the state added oversight of plans, policies, and programs affecting petroleum-bearing vessels on the Hudson River and on any proposed rulemaking from the U.S. Coast Guard which would impact the Hudson River.” [Emphasis added.]
Effectively, this means that even if the Coast Guard decided to buck public opinion and attempt to construct any new anchorage sites along the Hudson, whether it be for cargo, passenger, or even military vessels, New York State would have far broader powers in its ability to inspect, alter, or block such plans outright.
The bill was co-sponsored by Assemblymember Shelley Mayer of Yonkers and was passed almost unanimously (one absent vote, no nays or abstentions) before being signed into law Tuesday morning.